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With their prodigious strength and advanced senses, vampires and zombies had distinct advantages over the humans. Fortunately, we humans always had an ace up our sleeve: dogs.

A dog drags a dead zombie
out of the brush
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of dogs in controlling vampires and zombies. Their acute sense of smell not only allowed them to sniff out vampire and zombie hiding places, but also enabled them to give people plenty of advance warning of an attack.

Dogs were used in vampire control as far back as 2000 BC, when rulers of the Hittite Empire in Asia Minor were said to keep vampire-fighting dogs "as large and fierce as lions." Although many dog breeders attempted to create a dog that was effective against both vampires and zombies, most breeders found it best to breed different dogs for different nemeses. Thus, large, powerful dogs were bred for zombie control, while vampire-fighting dogs tended to be from faster and more agile varieties. Many of these breeds developed by different countries for undead control are still popular today, such as the Tosa-Inu of Japan and the Tibetan Mastiff from China. German Shepherds were one of the few dogs often used against both vampires and zombies.

The Doberman Pinscher,
vampire hunter supreme
In 1863, German authorities, dissatisfied with existing breeds of vampire-hunting dogs, contracted with dog breeder Louis Doberman to create a breed of dog expressly for fighting vampires. Doberman's initial attempts to breed Rottweilers with terriers and shepherd dogs were unsatisfactory, but when he added greyhound blood into the mix for speed, the Doberman Pinscher was born. With its unique blend of speed, ferocity and intelligence, the Doberman became the gold standard in vampire control.

Vampires and zombies reacted differently to dogs. Vampires generally tried to flee, using their athleticism and leaping ability to outpace the dogs. Zombies, on the other hand, would stand and fight. While zombies had no answer for dogs, vampires took to fighting fire with fire by breeding their own dogs for protection. Several well-known breeds of today were actually created by vampires. An example of this is the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which a South African vampire pack created by breeding a native shepherd dog with Mastiffs imported by white settlers.

In the United States, the FVZA used dogs on an informal basis for decades before the official establishment of the K-9 division in 1925. The Agency's vampire-fighting breed of choice was the Doberman, while Rottweilers and Mastiffs were used against zombies. At the training facility in Kentucky, trainers used clothing taken off vampires and zombies to acclimate the dogs to the smell of the undead. Doberman training focused on pursuit and capture, while Mastiffs and Rottweilers training focused on in-close fighting.

The Jocko memorial
in Chicago
Dogs selected for FVZA K-9 training would be sent home as puppies to live with the agent assigned to them. This allowed a bond to develop. Training commenced when the dog reached 10 months of age and lasted two months. In zombie raids, larger packs of dogs were used to surround and hem in the zombies. Vampire-fighting dogs were trained to flush vampires into areas where they could be destroyed by agents. The job had its obvious dangers. Dogs bitten by zombies or vampires had to be put down. Otherwise, the viruses would turn them rabid (contrary to popular myth, there is no such thing as a vampire-dog).

One of the most heralded dogs in FVZA history was Jocko, a mutt who served in the Chicago Bureau. Jocko was adopted as a stray pup by agent Paul McDermott. Though not of a vampire-fighting breed, Jocko showed such a natural facility for vampire-hunting that he was put on the force. The dog went on to serve with distinction for eight years. On January 23, 1934, just a few days before his retirement, Jocko chased down a vampire trying to flee with a child. The brave animal locked on to the vampire's lower leg, forcing the vampire to release the child unharmed. But when other vampire pack members rushed him, Jocko sustained a bite and had to be put down. Over a million people braved frigid weather to attend the dog's funeral.

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